#Temple #Elephant #Sanctuary #Mandala #Encaustic #Art #MixedMedia
Encaustic is an ancient technique of applying beeswax to various substrates. This gorgeous tactile medium lends a luminous texture, depth, and lustre to my images.
This image is from a photograph of an Asian elephant taken in Thailand 1997. In the original image she is standing in front of a fence surrounded by concrete. She was not decorated, the mandala was added during the creation of this image. The mandala represents the universe in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. In dreams it represents the search for completeness and unity.
Just as the photograph functions as the palette in my work, varying substrates can greatly change the mood and timbre of my images.
Encaustic (wax) is one of my favourite mediums. It is an ethereal, dreamy, luminous, textured, tactile and organic piece of art. It is also an incredibly versatile medium used by painters, by mixed-media artists and photographers.
The process I used to create this piece involved adhering the image to a firm substrate (can be wood, artist’s board or small canvases) in this case I chose a 5x7” stretched cotton canvas. The wax was painted over the image as it would be in encaustic photography.
When working with existing images I apply several layers of wax, fusing the layers and building texture as i go. Ultimately the heat also allows me to determine where and how much detail i wish to allow the wax to reveal. The surface of my work is at times and by design, heavily textured. I brush, burnish, carve, smooth, burn or scrape the surface to increase or decrease texture. Sometimes i use a combination of both filtered and unfiltered beeswax resulting in some gentle colour variegation in the hues of the wax. The wax contains organic debris from the bees, it is always there on some level, often imperceptible but occasionally it is visible. Also, in my opinion, adding to the organic quality of the work.
As a result of the repeated heating and cooling of the surface during the encaustic process, the wax can in time release what is know as a bloom. For some this is an undesirable effect, but it is one of the things i adore about the medium. It is a gentle veil, adding to the mysterious beauty of the technique. the wax can be buffed (with a very soft cloth) to a shine, but the surface eventually returns to a it’s matte finish.
50% of the proceeds from the sale of this piece will go to #ForTheLoveOfElephants, an organization dedicated to create a sanctuary for temple elephants in India. Additional pieces can be made and due to the changeable nature of the wax, each piece is completely unique.
I have attempted to capture the exquisite quality and the texture of the surface of the wax for the gallery here, if you haven’t seen this type of work in person, it will give you a very basic idea.
Though this is a unique piece, it is one in a limited series. Each image is mounted on a substrate and worked with wax creating a one-of-a-kind piece, though the photograph embedded may be the same, no two wax encaustic pieces are identical.
If you have any questions or comments about this work, I would love to hear from you!